Accuracy of the clinical diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) among the Italian Dementia Centers: a study by the Italian DLB study group (DLB-SINdem)

Neurol Sci. 2022 Jul;43(7):4221-4229. doi: 10.1007/s10072-022-05987-z. Epub 2022 Mar 4.


Introduction: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) may represent a diagnostic challenge, since its clinical picture overlaps with other dementia. Two toolkits have been developed to aid the clinician to diagnose DLB: the Lewy Body Composite Risk Score (LBCRS) and the Assessment Toolkit for DLB (AT-DLB). We aim to evaluate the reliability of these two questionnaires, and their ability to enhance the interpretation of the international consensus diagnostic criteria.

Methods: LBCRS and AT-DLB were distributed to 135 Italian Neurological Centers for Cognitive Decline and Dementia (CDCDs), with the indication to administer them to all patients with dementia referred within the subsequent 3 months. We asked to subsequently apply consensus criteria for DLB diagnosis, to validate the diagnostic accuracy of the two toolkits.

Results: A total of 23 Centers joined the study; 1854 patients were enrolled. We found a prevalence of possible or probable DLB of 13% each (26% total), according to the consensus criteria. LBCRS toolkit showed good reliability, with a Cronbach alpha of 0.77, stable even after removing variables from the construct. AT-DLB toolkit Cronbach alpha was 0.52 and, after the subtraction of the "cognitive fluctuation" criterion, was only 0.31. Accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity were higher for LBCRS vs. AT-DLB. However, when simultaneously considered in the logistic models, AT-DLB showed a better performance (p < 0.001). Overall, the concordance between LBCRS positive and AT-DLB possible/probable was of 78.02% CONCLUSIONS: In a clinical setting, the LBCRS and AT-DLB questionnaires have good accuracy for DLB diagnosis.

Keywords: Clinical diagnosis; Cognitive impairment; Consensus criteria; Dementia; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Diagnostic accuracy; Diagnostic toolkits.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Lewy Body Disease* / diagnosis
  • Reproducibility of Results